One Planet Living: Can You Brand a Way of Life?


According to Bioregional, an international, environmental non-profit organization, if we live like Europeans we will need 3 planets worth of resources. If we live like Americans we will need 5! Their goal is to find and support ways of limiting the number of planets we need to live work and enjoy life to just one planet, the one we live on. After all, we only have one planet!

In order to accomplish this, Bioregional wanted to give very clear directions for how to achieve true sustainability. They wanted to create principles that would be easy for governments, developments, and individuals to understand and achieve.

To this end they have established 10 One Planet Principles to “structure thinking and inform holistic action.”

  1. Health and Happiness: encouraging active, sociable lives to promote good health and well being
  2. Equity and Local Economy: Creating bioregional economies that support equity and diverse local employment and international fair trade
  3. Culture and community: Respecting and reviving local identity, wisdom and culture; encouraging the involvement of people in shaping their community and creating a new culture of sustainability
  4. Land use and wildlife: Protecting and restoring biodiversity and creating new natural habitats through good land use and integration into the built environment
  5. Sustainable water: Using water efficiently in buildings, farming and manufacturing. Designing to avoid local issues such as flooding, drought and water course pollution
  6. Local and sustainable food: Supporting sustainable and humane farming, promoting access to healthy, low impact, local, seasonal and organic diets and reducing food waste
  7. Sustainable materials: Using sustainable and healthy products, such as those with low embodied energy, sourced locally, made from renewable or waste resources
  8. Sustainable transport: Reducing the need to travel, and encouraging low and zero carbon modes of transport to reduce emissions
  9. Zero waste: Reducing waste, reusing where possible, and ultimately sending zero waste to landfill
  10. Zero carbon: Making buildings energy efficient and delivering all energy with renewable technologies

Bioregional certifies communities who meet these standards.

Sound like a tall order? Well, we are quite proud that Sonoma county California’s SOMO Village is up to the task. In fact, it was not only the fourth One Planet community in the world, it was the first in North America. There are now 11 such certified communities throughout the world

SOMO Village is an award-winning development based on an “adaptive reuse of existing buildings.” Beginning with a 25-acre business core already providing over 1000 jobs and housing some of the planet’s most green and healthy businesses, it contemplates 1600 state of the art homes, all within walking and biking distance on a 200 acre, mixed use, solar-powered, zero waste community. It will include interconnected streets, public spaces, art and transportation options.

We recently took 120 international students from Nanyang University in Singapore to SOMO Village to show them green entrepreneurship in action. We wanted to encourage them to pursue their own green dreams by showing them a real success story they can emulate.

One Planet Living is a brand whose time has come. We believe real change comes when you “put a buck on it.” The idea that there is no alternative to conspicuous consumption is old school. There is a sustainable alternative, it works financially, and it will outlive the old, narrow minded models. Bravo SOMO Village and One Planet Living!